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DefMin Fifor: We want to complete F16 squadron with four more aircraft; another 36 aircraft in plan

Romania wants to complete the F16 squadron with another four aircraft and plans to purchase another 36 such aircraft, National Defence Minister Mihai Fifor stated on Tuesday.

"For now it's a discussion that we are carrying out with the Romanian Armed Forces. We would like to currently supplement the existing F16 squadron with another four aircraft. And another plan of 36- F16 aircraft for which we've requested the US to tell us is there is the possibility to buy them form there. For now, we wait for a response, because one doesn't go and purchase a F16 from one day to the next," Minister Fifor told a press conference organised at the National Defence Ministry (MApN) headquarters.

He presented the steps regarding the purchase of F16 aircraft. "It's not a negotiation. Firstly, one has to request in order to see if these aircraft exist and, if they exist, what is their price. And afterwards, certainly, a negotiation starts. We are waiting for the response," Fifor explained.

According to him, the submarine acquisition programme is currently being looked into by the Navy and the acquisition proper could start after 2020.

"The submarine programme is currently being scrutinised by the Romanian Navy. They are discussing the kind of submarine that we can have for the Navy. They have not yet completed this technical analysis that we want. Once the technical analysis is ready, the steps are as follows: as with any other major acquisition programme we will seek the approval of the Supreme Council for National Defence (CSAT) and we will also ask Parliament to approve this programme as well. When I mentioned submarines I meant there is a request for three submarines. This is a medium and long-term programme. In our opinion, such a purchase could start after 2020 but everything is done through competitive dialogue, because we want things to go as much as possible to the benefit of Romania. Competitive dialogue means maximum transparency, compliance with both Romanian and European legal provisions and, ultimately, we are very interested in the offset of such contracts, such as the one for Corvette, where the offset will be used to modernise the frigates of the Romanian Navy," Fifor said at a news conference hosted by the Defence Ministry (MApN).

Asked if he had discussed with the German Defense Minister at the Munich Security Conference the acquisition of submarines, he said the meeting was aimed at German support for the Craiova Multinational Brigade and industrial co-operation.

"Germany cannot participate at a ministerial level in the acquisition of submarines. We had a very good bilateral relationship with the German defence minister, and we mentioned the support we were requesting from Germany for the development of the multinational brigade in Craiova. (...) We also discussed industrial cooperation, because every country asks for industrial cooperation. Everyone wants to know how Romania will contribute to the PESCO [Permanent Structured Cooperation] format and what industrial cooperation programmes Romania will join," said Fifor.